Film & Television

Among the projects we are proud to be a part of are the noted feature-length motion picture documentaries Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Surfwise, television projects ranging from Kimora Life In The Fab Lane for Style Network to Ovation’s The Fashion Fund and the major motion picture Rock of Ages, starring Tom Cruise.

What Remains
The Power of Two
See You In September
Pretty Persuasion
No One Dies in Lily Dale
Nic and Tristan go Mega Dega
Family Bonds
Barry Munday


How do I know when I need to get music clearance?

If you are using music, it always has to be cleared. Bear in mind that many film festivals won’t show your film without paperwork proving that you’ve paid and got permission.

What about if a friend or colleague has composed some music for me to use?

You still need an agreement in writing to prevent any problems cropping up in the future. Imagine if you originally pay them $1000 and then your film gets global theatrical release, they will probably want a piece of that, but if you have it on paper then you are not obliged to give them more.

How long can I expect the clearance process to take?

It all depends on the piece of music. On average, it takes between six and eight weeks. It varies depending on how many writers are involved, how many publishers you need to speak to, where those publishers are in the world, time differences and language barriers. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time.

Do I need to hire a lawyer or is it possible to get legitimate clearance by myself?

You don’t need to, but if you’re inexperienced it’s risky to attempt it by yourself as it’s easy to make mistakes which can be costly to rectify. An alternative to a lawyer is hiring the services of a sound music provider, such as Manage This Media, It will cost you for our services but our contacts and expertise will make the process less complicated.

Who do I need to get clearance from? The artist, producer, record label?

There are two separate types of clearance: ‘Master’ rights which relate to the specific version of the track, owned by the record label, and the publishing rights which relate to the original composition. These are often owned by separate companies or individuals but you do need clearance from both.

What does the agreement need to include and what are the essentials from my point of view?

The accepted norm is for clearance to be “all media, worldwide, in perpetuity” but this may be out of your budget.  Manage This Media will work with you to create terms to work within your budget for your project.

What if I want to amend my contract later down the line?

It’s important to remember that you can add a step-up clause at the time of the original agreement. For example, you can begin with a North America-only contract to bring the initial cost of clearance down but you can include a step-up clause which allows you to go back and make changes if your film is picked up by a company who want to broadcast it internationally.

Does clearance differ between music that’s featured live in the background of a scene as filmed, and music that’s added in over a scene in post-production?

In terms of the clearance procedure, no, it’s exactly the same process. You need the same rights and paperwork for either scenario. The only difference is in the payment schedule but this is the concern of the broadcaster and not the filmmaker.

Are there any common mistakes people make/pitfalls, or things people often forget that I should be aware of?

Just asking the band or the artist themselves isn’t enough. You need to go through legal channels because sometimes the band may give you verbal permission although they don’t, in fact, own their music.